Release Date: 19/02/2021
Platform: Amazon Prime Videos
Cast: Mohanlal, Meena, Murali Gopy, Asha Sarath, Siddique, Saikumar
Director: Jeethu Joseph
Rating: 3.5/5 (3.5 out of 5 Stars)
I was bowled over by Jeethu Joseph’s Drishyam in 2013. It was a film that not only thrilled with its gripping screenplay and endlessly investing and likeable protagonist (played by Mohanlal) but it was also a film that was humane and made me care for Mohanlal’s character and his family that seemed doomed for most parts of the film.
The manner in which the film ended also made my jaw drop, and I felt that it was the kind of ending that was impossible to pull off a second time. The fact that my reverence for the film was not ill-placed was proved by the two remakes that the film got and also by the fact that both the remakes proved to be big box office successes.
I didn’t even know that a remake of the Malayalam original was in the works and that it was written and directed by Jeethu Joseph until a week ago. Drishyam 2 landed on Prime Videos tonight and I sheepishly approached it wary of being disappointed by the sequel jinx that mars most Indian film. I really wanted to like this film but was apprehensive about it nevertheless.
Drishyam 2 starts off slow. Six years after the events of the first film, Georgekutty (Mohanlal) is living a life of considerable ease and financial stability. He has sold off a portion of his land, built a cinema hall using the sum that he got out of the sale, and is also working on a script based on his story that he plans to make into a film. His wife and daughters though seem superficially normal and out of their respective traumas, often display signs of reminiscence of their traumatic experience from the first film. Things become interesting when the new Inspector General of the region takes up the case as a matter of personal pride and starts looking for the dead body and any other evidence pertaining to the disappearance of Varun, the alleged murder victim from the first film.
The police receive a shot in the arm when a surprising witness claims to know about the whereabouts of the dead body surfaces. This brings Georgekutty and his family under immense duress. Seeing his family on the verge of crumbling, Georgekutty does what he does best, defend his family with his knowledge and understanding of cinema and how it is all but a representation of our very existence and how life works. Will he be able to save his family? Will the police recover Varun’s body? How will Georgekutty save his family? These are some of the questions that drive the narrative of Drishyam 2: The Resumption.
The first hour or so of the film feels somewhat dragged but I was able to move along with the narrative because of how well Mohanlal was able to once again re-create the charm of the character of Georgekutty. There was a sense of uneasiness in his act from the very beginning that should have made it apparent for me that there was something cooking underneath his calm demeanor but I was so engaged in his rendering of Georgekutty’s domestic life and the joyful drama of it that I completely forgot that this was, in the end, a thriller and a film about how a patriarch of a family does everything to defend his daughter from ending up in jail for committing a murder that was forced on her.
Once the film starts revealing its cards, the screenplay starts making more sense and I understood why Jeethu Joseph took so much time to show us Georgekutty interacting with these inconsequential characters. It only made sense because these interactions would later go on to explain the kind of feats that Georgekutty pulls off using his camaraderie with these characters. There are also some characters who only reveal their true selves in the latter half of the film and this makes the film’s plot a lot more laid out and extensive.
No matter what I write here, no one can prepare the viewer for the climax of the film. There will be many who will question its over-the-top nature and then there would be those who would call it simply flimsy. I was, however, in a strange way convinced by it. There have been instances of much more bizarre convictions and acquittals in the history of law and order and this felt in many ways like something that could have happened. Going by Georgekutty’s meticulous nature and keen observation of details, things made a lot more sense to me than they might to others. Ironically, Jeethu Joseph questions the improbability of the climax in the film itself using a conversation between Georgekutty and another character. This, I felt, was a masterstroke and added a lot of credibility to something that one can easily dismiss as too conducive to the final outcome.
For a film that is two hours 33 minutes long, the performances had to be engrossing to make the viewers have any interest whatsoever in the narrative. As was the case with the first film, the principal cast makes an astounding impression with their natural performances. I was particularly impressed by the performance of Meena who has a much longer role this time and proves to be the weakest link in Georgekutty’s scheme of things. The character’s anxiety, fear, and frustration are beautifully evoked by Meena’s stupendous performance. Murali Gopy as the Inspector General who wants to prosecute Georgekutty at any cost is terrific. His performance feels so life-like and real that I didn’t take him to be anything other than the character that he was playing. His mannerisms, expressions, and gestures all reveled in realism and elevated the impact of the character and the film as a whole.
Asha Sarath gets her chance to go up against Georgekutty. She lost her son and didn’t even get the chance to perform his last rights. Her expressions document the insatiable hate and feeling of retribution that is evidently driving her actions and mental state. Not only does Sarath breathe fire in her minuscule essay but she also adds another layer of fear to the proceedings. I constantly felt that she would physically harm the Georgekutty family and it increased my tension for the characters who I wanted to be safe. Siddique as the calm and righteous Prabhakar is as good as he was in the first film. Maybe even better.
As was the case with the first film, Drishyam 2 is beautifully shot, wonderfully edited, and soulfully scored. While there is only one major song this time, the film’s background score still lingers in your afterthoughts. It works as the best companion peace for what is unraveling on the screen. The cinematography is sweeping and there are numerous long overhead shots that just go on to show how beautiful Kerala is. The cinematography also has a sense of freshness to it in the sequences that are nothing more than people interacting with each other. While the film is two hours 33 minutes long, the editing doesn’t feel dragged once we start understanding the importance of the prolonged dialogues that we felt were unnecessary to start with. The pacing is leisurely and it is kept that way intentionally as that pace allows us to peek into the psyche of the different characters through the windows of their expression. We would have missed the subtle nuances had the editing been any faster.
Drishyam 2 is just as good as the first installment if not better. I felt that the stakes were higher in this film and the layout was much more laid out. If that was not enough, the performance by Mohanlal and Murali Gopy took the impact of the film a few notches higher than what we got in its predecessor. This is a must-watch for anyone who is looking for a thought-provoking and temperamental drama with enough twists and turns to keep you engrossed throughout.